Ed Kemper and his older sister Susan Swanson discussed the Santa Cruz murders and Herbert Mullin in April 1973 before Kemper’s arrest: “Guy [Kemper’s nickname] and I discussed them one day when mom and I went to the university to borrow a movie projector so I could show a movie I had brought from home [in Montana]. There was something said about Mullin firing his attorney because he had long hair, and I asked Guy if he thought Mullin had done the co-ed slayings too. He said he didn’t because none of them were similar in any way to how his victims had been shot–then the subject was dropped. The first weekend I was there, Guy went to Turlock and picked up [Kemper’s fiancée] and brought her to mom’s. We went to San Francisco that weekend Mom, I, [Kemper’s fiancée], and Guy, and along the road he mentioned that down there, pointing to the right, was where they had found two girls propped up against something I don’t remember the exact area. We drove along the coast highway, but this was a hilly section inland, just a bit. I believe it was just south of San Jose. Another time, I commented on the girls hitchhiking and mentioned they weren’t too bright, considering what happened and the particular ones I mentioned were really dressed shabby. He said it was strange because some of the co-eds killed were very attractive girls, not hippie looking at all. I think this was mentioned at the same time the conversation about Mullin was discussed on the way to the university. The subject changed. He didn’t say or do anything strange or comment any more than anyone might comment because of what had been happening.”
“One day when we were driving from Aptos along the beach toward Santa Cruz, just sightseeing, [Kemper] pointed off toward the beach and mentioned that a girl’s head was washed up along there -no more was said, and he brought it up.”
“Several times while we were riding around while I was there he would notice a girl and really stare, not just look or glance, and I teased him that he’d better get out of that habit when he gets married or [Kemper’s fiancée] would sure get jealous. He said she’s used to it or something along that line and most of these girls were dark skinned, possibly Mexican heritage, with black hair and medium build, tending toward heavy. He also commented that he sure likes those big butts- again I just passed it off and went on to other talk.”
Source: Book “Murder Capital of the World” by Emerson Murray, 2021 / Photo: Yearbook, University of Southern California, 1964
Some time in March 1973, Ed [Guy] Kemper and his mother went off-roading in a jeep and Clarnell injured her shoulder. Kemper’s sister, Susan Swanson, came and stayed with Kemper and his mother on April 1:
“A little vacation and also it would be a good time to go down and help mom with her stuff that she couldn’t handle with her broken shoulder. So, it was kind of a two-way visit. So, I went down the first of April and I came home on the 19th. In fact, I missed all this by forty hours, which was very shattering to me. It was a beautiful nineteen days. [Kemper killed his mother on April 21st]. During the days, Guy would sleep an awful lot, he would get up maybe at noon or two o’clock. Either that, or I understood him to be going off with friends during the day, like target practicing or something. He might leave oh, around noon or something and come back around dinner time or whatever. Some days, he’d just kind of hang around the house or be gone for a couple of hours and then he and I would do things during the day. I would take mom to school to work and then I’d come back and kind of clean up the apartment while Guy was asleep and then when he’d wake up we’d either go do something or he’d go do something and I would just, you know, drive around or sightsee, or whatever. In the evening, I would pick mom up from school and Guy most always was gone in the evening. He would go to the Jury Room a lot or go to the show, or… as far as the accuracy, whether he was really there or not, I don’t know; but he was gone in the evenings a lot, and would get home quite late- two or three in the morning. And he drank quite a bit, of beer. For breakfast, he had two large cans of beer and he seemed to be able to hold beer quite well. I mean, it would take quite a bit before you would notice any signs that he had been drinking. I never saw him drunk. I never saw him staggering. I never saw him slurring his speech or anything.
“I’ve never taken lessons in judo or karate, but I have picked up a few little things, I’m fascinated with the tournaments, watching the art. I wanted to show [Kemper] this new throw that I had just picked up on television. Well, being 6’9″, or whatever, I’m 6’1″, or 6’1/2” myself, and not any weakling, and I was going to show him how the throw goes and I couldn’t even waver him on his feet and he says, he’s standing there with his hands on his hips saying, “What are you doing? What are you trying to do?”
“I said, “Oh, I’m going to throw you.” You know. We clowned around and made little fake karate chops and say, if I came around a corner or something and he was coming around at the same time, kind of like a surprise, not to surprise each other, but just bumping into each other coming around the corner, we’d go POW POW, and a few little phony karate things and the most scary thing right now is he would make a motion like he, with his hands in a karate chop, had lapped off my head and then held his hands out like he caught it. And laughed. And I would laugh. Because it seemed so funny, you know, this karate business, ho ho, and we were just playing around with it all the time. And this motion especially now, just this WHAP, and make his hands like he’s catching my head–and I’d laugh. I can’t believe this now.”
Source: Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray, 2021 / Photo: Ancestry, Yearbook, University of Southern California, 1963
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), August 19, 2022 — A California inmate who confessed to killing 13 people in a matter of months during the early 1970s has died of natural causes at age 75, state prison officials said Friday.
Herbert W. Mullin’s victims ranged in age from 4 to 73 and included a priest he killed in a confessional booth, according to the Santa Cruz County district attorney’s office.
Mullin died Thursday evening [August 18] at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton, corrections officials said, and the San Joaquin County medical examiner will determine his exact cause of death.
Mullin was serving two concurrent sentences of life with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder from Santa Cruz County and nine terms of five years to life for second-degree murder from Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.
All were for killings he committed during a four-month period in late 1972 and early 1973.
Prosecutors said Mullin committed two other murders for which he never faced charges.
Mullin was denied parole last year.
At the time, District Attorney Jeff Rosell said that Mullin again admitted to the 13 killings during his parole hearing. But he blamed his poor upbringing and said his parents and sister should be held responsible.
Mullin showed “no true remorse for these brutal murders,” Rosell argued.
Mullin had interactions with Edmund Kemper, another serial killer active in the same area and at the same time as he was. The two shared adjoining cells at one point at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville. Kemper would describe Mullin as having a “lot of pain inside, he had a lot of anguish inside, he had a lot of hate inside, and it was addressed to people he didn’t even know because he didn’t dare do anything to the people he knew.” In that same interview, Kemper called Mullin “a kindred spirit there” due to their similar past of being institutionalized. Kemper said he told Mullin “Herbie, I know what happened. Don’t give me that bullshit about earthquakes and don’t give me that crap about God was telling you. I says you couldn’t even be talking to me now if God was talking to you because of the pressure I’m putting on you right now, these little shocking insights into what you did, God would start talking to you right now if you were that kind of ill. Because I grew up with people like that.”
Sources: Santa Cruz Sentinel, by Associated Press, August 19, 2022 | Wikipedia for Herbert Mullin | 1991 Interview by Stéphane Bourgoin
After he was arrested in 1973 for the murder of eight women, Ed Kemper was asked by police to provide a handwriting sample by copying the note he left at his mother’s and her friend Sally Hallett’s murder scene. The document is signed by Kemper, detective Terry Medina and inspector with the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office, Richard F. Verbrugge.
Source: Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray, 2021
Edward George, former administrator at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, recalled his many interactions with Ed Kemper:
“Big Ed and I used to chat occasionally about his life on the street. I discovered that he actually lived in Alameda in an apartment two blocks from where I lived. Scary. He worked at a gas station where I used to buy gas. Very scary. One day I asked him, tongue in cheek, what did he consider his greatest contribution to society. He didn’t miss a beat. With a gleeful smile, he cracked ‘I taught women not to hitchhike.’”
Source: Ed Kemper – Conversations with a killer, by Dary Matera, Sterling Publishing, 2021/ Photo: Pete Amos, Murder Capital of the World, by Emerson Murray, 2021
As Ed Kemper celebrates his 73rd birthday today (he was born on December 18, 1948), we revisit his 1973 trial for the murder of six coeds, his mother and her best friend, during his cross examination by District Attorney Peter Chang, where Kemper reflected on his psychiatric diagnosis:
Peter Chang: How would you diagnose yourself, Mr. Kemper?
Ed Kemper: I believe very dearly and honestly there are two people inside of me and at times one of them takes over.
Peter Chang: You disagree with the court-appointed psychiatrist who diagnosed you as a sex maniac?
Ed Kemper: I don’t believe I am.
Peter Chang: Why do you tend to blame others for what you have done?
Ed Kemper: I feel there are others involved. I don’t believe I was born to be this way.
Peter Chang: Do you think society thinks what you’ve done is grossly evil?
Ed Kemper: Right now, yes.
Peter Chang: Horrendous?
Ed Kemper: Yes, but there are times those things don’t even enter my mind.
Source photo and text: Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray, 2021 / Photo by Pete Amos
“We got back to Santa Cruz, and we took him in to book him, and as we pull into the Sheriff’s Office, there must have been a hundred to two hundred members of the press waiting there. Keep in mind that I’m supposed to stay out of the press. So, we get around and go in the back and take him upstairs and book him.”
“Jesse Valdez was the booking officer. It gets to the point and Jesse said, “So who do you want to notify in case of emergency? Ed looked at me. He said, “Can I put you down because I don’t have anybody left?”
investigator Michael aluffi, in 2019-2020
Source: Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray, 2021
April 1973 – Ray Belgard from the District Attorney’s office with the arsenal Kemper left Santa Cruz with, after killing his mother and her best friend. Kemper surrendered and was arrested in Pueblo, Colorado, where he could have done a lot of damage with these weapons.
Source: Murder Capital of the World, by Emerson Murray, 2021, https://www.emersonmurray.com/murder-capital-of-the-world / Photo: Pete Amos